From correspondents in Havana
November 20, 2006
MORE than 300,000 people will take part in a military parade marking President Fidel Castro's 80th birthday, as well as the 50th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution, reports from Havana have said.
The weekly newspaper Tribuna de La Habana has reported that the massive December 2 display will feature tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons and other military hardware parading through Revolution Square.
The December 2 date was picked because it marks the 50th anniversary of the day Mr Castro and 81 bearded rebels - including brother Raul and Argentine-born revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara - returned from exile in Mexico aboard a yacht named Granma, launching a military campaign that would topple US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Mr Castro turned 80 in August, but birthday celebrations were postponed because of a reported intestinal operation and recovery.
He has temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul, but as the time progresses since his last public appearance, speculation has grown about his health, amid persistent rumours that he may actually suffer from cancer.